Museums and Art

Altar “Trinity. Madonna and Child by the Fire, Robert Kampen - Description

Altar “Trinity. Madonna and Child by the Fire, Robert Kampen - Description

Trinity. 34.3 x 24.5 cm

This small altar is the only work of Robert Kampen stored in the Hermitage collection. The features of the nascent painting of the Northern Renaissance are already clearly visible in this picture.

The diptych (a folding altar, consisting of two wings) depicts two important events from the life of Christ — childhood and resurrection.

Right wing

On the right wing is the usual living room. Fun fire burns in the fireplace. Open wooden barred window shutters let in daylight. Dull gold is played by glare on a brass tray and a jug. Warm honey-brown shades shine on the wooden legs of a small table. A large white towel decorated with embroidery hangs on a light gray wall.

A young woman in a blue dress with a scarlet cloak is sitting near the fireplace. Thick waves of copper-red hair, decorated with a small diadem, frame a delicate face. With love and light sorrow, she looks at the baby lying on her lap. With her left hand she gently presses it to herself, and with her right hand, stretched to the fire, carefully checks whether the baby is warm enough.

A familiar home picture, which breathes comfort and quiet happiness. And only the neighboring altar leaf and the robe of the mother tell us that this is an image of the Madonna.

Left wing

On the left wing, God the Father also gently holds the crucified son in his arms. He sits on a marble throne under the open canopy of a sky-blue silk canopy. Amber highlights play on a golden tiara crowned with a cross and decorated with precious stones and pearls. Almost completely gray hair and a beard, a calm face covered with wrinkles. Strict eyes full of wisdom and sorrow look a little distantly.

Traces of suffering and pain are visible on Christ's hardened, frozen face, dark shadows underline covered eyes and mournful wrinkles at the mouth. The left hand is limply lowered, the right clamps the wound on the chest. Nail wounds are visible, and a crown of thorns is still on his head. On the shoulder of Jesus sits a white dove, spreading its wings, a symbol of the holy spirit.

The altar does not have a wide variety of colors; the artist uses many cool shades of blue, red and brown colors. Both images combine the blue-red robes of God the Father and the Mother of God, emphasizing the double essence of Christ - the divine and human. Purity and holiness is symbolized by the white color with which the master writes the plumage of a dove, the diaper and coverlet of Jesus.

The artist carefully prescribes a lot of details: hats of nails in wooden shutters, jug decorations, carved bas-reliefs on the throne and fireplace. The texture of the fabrics is very accurately conveyed - the heavy luster of silk and the softness of the baby blanket.

Each sculpture in the picture has its own meaning: the lioness, who brought the cubs back to life with her growl, symbolizes resurrection, and the pelican feeding the chicks with her blood is a sign of communion.

Looking at this altar, you never cease to admire the craftsmanship of the master, who combined church canons with the details of everyday life.


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